Fight for Headington's Green Belt lost

On 10 December 2020 South Oxfordshire District Council voted to accept its Local Plan. This will have a profound effect on Headington's Green Belt (the land north of Bayswater Brook), which will be developed from near the Marston flyover to the Bayswater Road (initially with 1,100 houses, swallowing up Headington's two remaining farms (Lower Farm and Wick Farm). Development is also planned to the north of Sandhills, and a new road through the development is proposed.

Full information on the development

Headington Co-op sold to developers

Midcounties Co-op informed its members on 1 December 2020 that they had sold the Headington Co-op at 152 London Road to developers, who would be seeking planning permission to build a unit with shops on the ground floor and residential flats above. They explained that the Headington store does not fit the long-term strategy of the Society, but that they hope to operate a convenience store on the site following the redevelopment.

The freehold of the site was advertised for sale by JLL as having “alternative use potential, including student residential, subject to planning”. It was offered with vacant possession, and the closing date for offers was 12 March 2020. Midcounties Co-op required an option to retain a c.4,000 sq. ft convenience store within any development, paying a market rent. (For comparison, the ground-floor area of the present Co-op, including “back of house”, is 14,752 sq. ft.)

The whole Co-op site that has been sold measures c.0.6 acres and includes the car park on the opposite side of Stile Road. The current rateable value of the property is £230,000 p.a.

More development at Thornhill

The Shaviram Group is planning to built another 400 flats behind and to the west of their new Thornhill Court and Marley House flats at the Thornhill Park development (in the former Nielsen's offices). It is consulting on the plans prior to submitting a planning application in January:

295–301 London Road: Plans approved

The full planning application for the redevelopment of the existing Sikh Gurdwara and “Demolition of existing two-storey building. Erection of a part two-, part three-storey building to create 5 x 2 bed and 2 x 1 bed flats. Provision of bin and cycle storage along with private amenity space” was approved by the East Area Planning Committee on 2 September 2020. The plans were called in and subsequently approved by the Planning Review Committee on 15 October 2020:

This building was built for the Currill family in 1890 as a house and a shoe shop. In more recent years it was occupied by Sharp & Howse.

Two earlier planning applications

(1) A planning application submitted in February 2019 was withdrawn: this was for “Outline application with all matters reserved apart from scale and access for the demolition of existing two storey building comprising offices at ground floor level and 2 x 1-bed flats at first floor level and its replacement with a three-storey building comprising eight flats (2 x 1-bed flats, 4 x 2-bed flats and 2 x 3-bed flats) along with access to the rear at the site (serving a car park belonging to the adjacent Sikh Temple). Provision bin and cycle storage and private amenity space.”

(2) A planning application for the conversion of existing offices on this site into two shops was approved on 7 February 2018:

McDonald's: possible Drive-Thru

McDonalds near the Green Road roundabout have submitted a planning application to demolish the former Carphone Warehouse at 298 London Road and erect a single-storey extension to incorporate a drive-thru lane:

They have submitted a second application for “Display of 4no. internally illuminated digital menu boards, 3no. non-illuminated banner signs, 2no. non-illuminated accessible parking bay signs, 1no. parked bay order sign, 4no. non-illuminated litter sign, 4no. non-illuminated no entry signs, 4no. non-illuminated pedestrian signs, 1no. non-illuminated speed limit sign”:

An earlier application for a drive-thru facility here was rejected in 1996: McDonald's went to appeal, which was refused:

No local elections in 2020

Because of the Covid-19 lockdown, the local elections due to be held on 7 May 2020 were cancelled.

All 48 city council seats were due to be contested because of the changes that were to have taken place to electoral ward boundaries. Instead current city councillors will continue in office for a further year and the next election and the boundary change will take place in May 2021.

Covid-19 medical progress in Headington

(1) Vaccine: The Jenner Institute on the Old Road campus with the Oxford Vaccine Group at the Churchill Hospital has produced a vaccine currently undergoing trials on 1,110 volunteers. The University of Oxford has made an agreement with AstraZeneca for the further development, large-scale manufacture, and potential distribution of this Covid-19 vaccine candidate, and AstroZenica will produce it at its three new Oxford Biomedica facilities (Oxbox) at Transport Way, Yarnton, and the Oxford Business Park.

(2) Treatment: The Recovery Trial of drugs to treat Covid-19 patients is led by the Nuffield Department of Medicine and the Nuffield Department of Population Health

(3) Modelling A team at the Nuffield Department of Medicine has produced a simulation suggesting that a digital contract-tracing app could be effective:

Oxford Local Plan 2016–2036

On 8 June 2020 Oxford City Council adopted the Oxford Local Plan 2016–2036. Parts relating to Headington including housing on the Valentia Road recreation ground and part of the Ruskin fields.

Student housing plan withdrawn

Following concerns of residents, Frontier Estates (who built the student housing on the corner of Latimer Road) submitted a revised planning application in December for the redevelopment of a large corner plot at Jack Straw's Lane/Marston Road, but this has now been WITHDRAWN

The withdrawn revised plan was for:

“Redevelopment of the site comprising demolition of existing carpenter's yard buildings, 1 and 3 Jack Straw's Lane, and 302, 304, 312 Marston Road, and the erection of six new buildings to provide 5 C3 dwellings (3 x 1 bed, 2 x 2 bed), 153 student rooms, and 140sqm (Class B1 (a)) office space”.

The accommodation was intended for postgraduate medical students at Green Templeton College. The number of rooms was reduced from 161 to 153, the office space was increased in size from 108sqm to 140sqm, and there were other adjustments outlined in the revised cover letter and the forty new items listed under the Documents tab:.

Some other recent planning applications
Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry

A new plan for the the erection of a single-storey extension to the north elevation was approved in November 2020:

10 Windmill Road (Oxford Wills/English Rose Kitchens)

The planning application for “Change of use of ground floor from shop (Use Class A1) to Restaurant and Cafe (Use Class A3) and change of use to first floor from shop (Use Class A1) to 1 x 1 bed flat (Use Class C3). Erection of part single, part two storey rear and side extension, formation of external staircase to north elevation, insertion of 1no. door and 1no. rooflight to north elevation, insertion of 1no. rooflight to west elevation and alterations to fenestration to east elevation. Provision of cycle stores” was WITHDRAWN on 12 February 2020:

Hillslope 1 Pullens Lane

The planning application submitted by Grange Mill Developments in December 2019 was refused by the East Area Planning Committee on 3 June 2020. This was for “Demolition of existing dwellinghouse and garage/annex. Erection of 3 x 5-bed dwellinghouses (Use Class C3). Creation of new access, modification of existing access, landscaping works and provision of bin and cycle storage”. The developers went to appeal, but the appeal was dismissed.

Earlier plans by Frontier Estates to build a care home on this site appear to have been abandoned.

New hospital accommodation approved

On 6 November 2019 the East Area Planning Committee approved the following two planning applications submitted by A2 Dominion South Ltd:

(1) Ivy Land Flats on JR site

“Demolition of existing buildings. Phased construction of key worker housing comprising 56 cluster units, 21 x one-bed studio apartments, 48 flats (17 x one-bed, 31 x two-beds), management office and associated works including parking and landscaping”.

Currently there are 408 key-worker bedrooms on the Ivy Lane site, and the new development will provide 468.

(2) Site adjacent to Randolph Court on the Churchill site

“Demolition of existing buildings. Construction of key worker housing (19 cluster units) and associated works”

Oxford Mail, 8 November 2019: “Nurse recruitment at heart of drive for new Oxford hospital accommodation

Oxford Mail, 2 October 2018: “New staff accommodation at John Radcliffe and Churchill hospitals planned

Ampleforth Arms

Star Pubs and Bars (the owners since March 2018) are refurbishing the Ampleforth Arms and advertising a new lease at £39,000 per year:

The following planning application submitted in December 2017 appears to be still outstanding:
“Part demolition of the existing public house. Part redevelopment and conversion to create a new community run public house at basement and ground floor level. Creation of 1 x 1-bed, 3 x 2-bed and 2 x 3 bed apartments (Use Class C3) and erection of 1 x 3-bed dwellinghouse (Use Class C3). Provision of private amenity space, landscaping and car parking”

There were plans to rename it the Risinghurst Arms:

New development on Old Road campus

Work started in September 2019 on the £35m Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine on the corner of Churchill Drive and Roosevelt Drive:

This is a partnership between the University of Oxford, the British Heart Foundation, and a philanthropist, and will bring together 220 world-leading scientists to tackle serious heart problems.

The Institute is on Plot B3, one of five plots on the Old Road campus for which outline planning permission was granted in July 2013:

Planning applications for the new Institute

The University of Oxford submitted two detailed applications in mid-2019 relating to the proposed Plot B3 on the corner of Churchill Drive and Roosevelt Drive, and both have been approved:

(1) “Details submitted in compliance with condition 4 (Restrict building heights), condition 5 (materials), condition 6 (Landscape and public realm), condition 7 (Protection of trees), condition 8 (Arboricultural method statement.), condition 10 (Landscape management), condition 11 (Boundary treatments), condition 18 (Sustainability strategy), condition 19 (Foul & surface water), condition 20 (Sustainable drainage), condition 21 (Ground contamination), condition 22 (Vibration and piling), condition 23 (Petrol / oil interceptors), condition 24 (Noise attenuation), condition 25 (Internal & external lighting), condition 26 (Cooking smells), condition 27 (Repeat ecological surveys), condition 29 (Habitat creation), condition 31 (Archaeological watching brief) of planning permission 12/02072/OUT”.

(2) “Application for reserved matters (appearance, landscaping, scale and layout) for plot B3 to create institute of Developmental Regenerative Medicine (IDRM)”:

Two public consultations were held at Boundary Brook House on 8 & 9 February 2019 on the University's plan for this site. They would like the new development to be a bridge between the campus and the neighbouring residential area, offering attractive landscaping and amenity space for both. The IDRM would “bring together 200+ world-leading researchers to tackle the most pressing scientific and clinical problems in the fields of developmental biology and regenerative medicine”.

New development on JR site

A planning application by Pup Architects for two single-storey buildings for meeting-room and office use on the John Radcliffe Hospital site was approved in August 2019. These buildings will be for Oxford's Health Innovation Hub (The Hill).

Ronald McDonald House

Ronald Macdonald House in Woodlands Road, Headington opened in May 2020:

In December 2018 Ronald McDonald House Charities started building a new four-storey, 62-room Ronald McDonald House on the 0.4 hectare site of the disused tennis courts at the John Radcliffe Hospital. The site is bounded to the north by Hospital Car Park 2a, to the east and south by Woodlands Road, and to the west by the rear gardens of Sandfield Road:

At present the charity can only offer 17 rooms on the top floor of the children's hospital and cannot meet the demand.

Barton Park development

Redrow have now started on Barton Park Phase 3 (which is being built before Phase 2). The detailed planning application for this phase was approved by the East Area Planning Committee on 3 July 2019:

“Details of reserved matters (layout, scale, appearance, and landscaping) for third phase of the Barton Park development, pursuant of condition 3 of the outline planning permission 13/01383/OUT. The works comprise the construction of 207 residential units (Class C3) with associated means of access and highways works; car and cycle parking; hard and soft landscaping; public realm works and ancillary structures, including a substation.”

For full details about the whole Barton Park development, please see the separate page: Barton Park development

Old Road Campus/Churchill & Park Hospitals
Sobell House

The Sobell House Charity has built a new specialist facility at the Churchill Hospital aimed at patients with more complex illnesses such as dementia. It will overlook Southfield Golf Course and cost £5m.

Precision Cancer Medicine Institute

Universities, Science, and Cities Minister Greg Clark visited the Old Road campus on 23 October 2014 and announced that a new £110m cancer centre, the Precision Cancer Medicine Institute would open in Headington. It will be on the Churchill Hospital site, south of Roosevelt Drive and will have 200 workers studying drug, surgery, and radiation therapy in cancer patients.



For up-to-the-minute information:

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Shop and business changes in 2020

We Fix & Trade is due to open shortly at 111 London Road. This is the former salon of Angels, who are now at No. 97. The shop has been extensively refurbished following the building of two flats behind (planning application 18/01568/FUL approved in August 2018) and in July 2019 a further application (19/01126/FUL) was approved relating to the shop on the ground floor: “Reconfiguration of shop front to provide level access, wheel chair accessible door and associated fenestration changes”.

Oxford Locksmiths Ltd have moved into the former Innovation Group premises at 9A Windmill Road

Phone Max mobile phone shop opened at 79 London Road (premises of the former “Garden” flower shop) in August 2020.

Bhoomi Kitchen opened on 9 August 2020 at 70 London Road (the premises of the former Mirabai, which closed at the beginning of February 2020).

AGN Butchery & Grocery opened in mid-July 2020 in the former Post Office building at 142  London Road. (Headington Post Office moved to the Co-op in February 2016, and the temporary shop that had been operating from the building closed on 23 December 2017.)

Kazan Japanese Cuisine opened in the former Yummy at 148 London Road at the beginning of February 2020.

Barclays Bank closed on 1 May 2020 (reasons).

Posh Fish: This reopened under new management on Thursday 28 May 2020

Flipping Burgerz opened in August 2020 in the former Sun of a Beach tanning salon. (In June 2019 RMA Investments were granted permission for change of use from tanning salon (Sui Generis) to Class A3 or A5 (café/takeaway): 19/01160/FUL)

Brookes Restaurant This was due to shut permanently on 1 May 2020, but closed earlier because of the Coronavirus outbreak

Leaders (Windmill Road) and Scott Fraser (London Road):
The Leaders Roman Group purchased Scott Fraser in March 2020.

Oxford Vapours at 142B London Road closed permanently at the start of the Coronavirus lockdown and was advertised to let at £25,000 p.a. A planning application (20/02330/FUL) has been REFUSED for change of use from Class Ea (shops) to Class Eb (restaurants & cafés) and Sui Generis (takeaways): proposed name “The Chicken Shop”).
(The new Use Classes that came into force on 1 September 2020 are listed here)

Oxford Wills and Probate in Windmill Road closed permanently following the Coronavirus lockdown. A planning application has been approved to turn it into a drinking establishment: 20/01769/FUL

Queen's in Windmill Road (formerly the Queen of Hearts Bakery) closed in early 2020

Jacobs & Field closed temporarily.

No community council for Headington

On the basis of the consultation taken in 2019, Oxford City Council decided at the end of March 2020 not to create a community council for the Headington area.

Consultation on the plan on which this decision will be based closed on 23 August 2019, but the information can still be seen here:

Those who lived in the area voted Yes to the Headington Neighbourhood Plan at the referendum in 2017, which stated that one of the projects to reinforce the identity of Headington would be to consider parish status, which might provide continuity for the Neighbourhood Forum.

Other Parish Councils in north-east Oxford

There are two other parish councils in and near Headington:

New office building for All Saints Road

Building started in autumn 2018 of a new two-storey office building in All Saints Road between Nos. 7 and 9 (at the rear of 73 Lime Walk):

An earlier application for an office building here was approved in September 2015 (15/02281/FUL), but an application to remove conditions from the plans was refused in May 2017 (17/00435/VAR).

It is understood that Linfield Construction, which is currently based at 74 Lime Walk, will occupy the office. They have permission to turn their old main office at 74 Lime Walk into a house under permitted development rights, and are currently seeking permission to turn the building behind into more accommodation: details of both on “Offices to flats” page

Offices becoming flats


Nielsen's, which was on the London Road near the Thornhill Park & Ride for 60 years, sold their 12-acre site to developers in 2016 and moved to the Oxford Business Park in March 2018, and their old building and annexe have been converted into 134 flats, which are available to rent:

Since May 2014 the conversion of B1(a) commercial property to C3 homes can be granted immediately under permitted development rights as long as specified aspects (such as transport and highway impacts, and contamination and flooding risks) are checked first. In December 2017 an application submitted by Shaviram Headington Limited (incorporated 10 July 2017) for “Change of use of Nielsen House and annex from office (Use Class B1(a)) to residential (Use Class C3) to provide 114 x 1-bed flats and 20 x 2-bed flats” was approved:

Two earlier applications were made by a different developer, Headington Developments Ltd (incorporated 29 January 2016 and dissolved on 18 June 2019):

  • In July 2016 the first plan by Headington Developments Ltd was not approved because the developer provided insufficient information relating to flooding and contamination risks (16/01394/B56)
  • In December 2016 prior approval was granted to Headington Developments Ltd for “Change of use of Nielsen House and annex from office (Use Class B1(a)) to residential (Use Class C3) to provide 30 x 1-bed flats and 63 x 2-bed flats”(16/02678/B56).

These two articles relate to the earlier planning applications:

Other similar conversions in Headington

When the government brought in this scheme in 2013, officials anticipated that it might result in as few as five extra conversion projects a year across the whole of England, but so far there have been ten successful applications in the Headington area alone:

Repatriation tributes in Headley Way

The John Radcliffe Hospital houses the Armed Forces Department of Pathology, and when members of the forces are killed their bodies are taken there. The funeral cortège passes through Marsh Lane and Headington on their way to the hospital. From March 2008 to May 2014 the Royal British Legion, joined by members of the public, held 153 repatriation tributes for 321 members of the services outside St Anthony of Padua Church in Headley Way, but thankfully such repatriations are at present rare.

There was a campaign for a memorial to be put on the roundabout at the Final Turn to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Sign up on the official Oxfordshire County Council website to be notified of any future repatriation dates and times:

“Access to Headington”

Work on the third phase of the £12.5m “Access to Headington” started after Easter 2018 following an announcement by the Oxfordshire Growth Board that an extra £3 million will be made available for the project. See this county council page for up-to-date information:

In April 2018 a new pedestrian crossing of the London Road was created near Osler Road.

In Cherwell Drive/Headley Way, 26 trees were felled and work started in earnest on 14 May 2018 with temporary lights for three weeks at the junction of Marsh Lane and Headley Way while central islands were removed and reinstated with a temporary road surface.

The Headley Way work was originally due to start on 24 July 2017 but was postponed because of urgent sewer work in St Clement's; and then it was due to run from 22 January to October 2018 but could not start until funding was certain:

The work at Headley Way was originally due to start on 24 July 2017.

The second phase of the project started in the Slade in March 2017 and was completed in the spring of 2018:

The first phase of this project at Old Road began on 17 October 2016 and is complete.


On 9 June 2016 David Nimmo-Smith, the County Council Cabinet Member for Environment (including Transport), approved the £12.5m “Access to Headington” revised plans:

New plans just for Headley Way and Windmill Road were released by the county council on 28 April 2016, and this extra consultation closed on 23 May 2016:

The county council's designs were sent out to the 4,500 homes most directly affected, and are also available here online:

The formal consultation on the Traffic Consultation Orders (TROs) closed on 25 March 2016.

All the proposed road humps at side road entries had a consultation of their own, which closed on 8 April 2016:

Cycling report recommendations for Headington

Andrew Gilligan, former cycling commissioner for London who helped deliver London's first segregated cycle superhighways, has produced the following report, published on 2 July 2018, for the National Infrastructure Commission:

He reports that five high-quality segregated or low-traffic routes should be created in Oxford, of which two pass through Headington: see paras 72 and 74, reproduced below.

72. Eastern Arc – Main road route, segregated or semi-segregated throughout, along London Road from Brookes University to Headington, Thornhill park and ride and continuing to Wheatley, including major improvements to Barton roundabout. Branches to John Radcliffe Hospital via filtering on Osler Road; to Old Road campus and Churchill Hospital site via filtering on Lime Walk. Links with existing "Access to Headington" scheme on The Slade and Headley Way. This route, particularly aimed at "last mile" cyclists, would link Thornhill park and ride to many major employment and university sites in the Eastern Arc.

74. Marston cyclepath – Extension of existing, successful route from new Marston to John Radcliffe Hospital and New Barton via short stretches of improved track on Marston Road, filtering on Jack Straw's Lane, better crossings of Marston Road and Headley Way, improved track on the hospital approach road, crossing of A40. The "Access to Headington" plans for this section of Headley Way don't provide a good enough crossing.

More Headington heat pipes?

A joint study commissioned by Oxford City Council and the University of Oxford published on 11 May 2017 puts forward three additional heat-network options for Headington:

(1) Old Road Campus & Warneford Hospital scheme (1.6km)
This would connect a new energy centre at the Warneford to adjacent buildings and the Old Road Campus

(2) Clive Booth Student Village scheme (0.7km)

(3) Headington West scheme (2.8km)
This would join large loads around Oxford Brookes University and Headington School with an energy centre at the Warneford Hospital.

JR to expand Emergency Department

The extension to the Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital was approved unanimously by the East Area Planning Committee on 7 November 2018, and worked started in December 2018 with the reduction of the size of the nearby roundabout.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust submitted a planning application in July 2018 for “The expansion of the Emergency Department of the John Radcliffe Hospital through to the provision of a two storey extension to A and E unit and refurbishment of existing space to provide, resuscitation bays, [paediatric] resuscitation bays, enhanced resuscitation room and isolation room. The provision over ancillary works such as external plant and other associated landscape works including revised land layout and dedicated ambulance parking”: